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Reading School 11 plus: a parents' guide for 2022

School guides

Situated in the heart of Berkshire, Reading School is one of England’s oldest and most prestigious grammar schools. Founded in 1125, it was transformed into a free grammar school by Henry VII. Today it is a selective boys’ grammar school with academy status which takes both day and boarding pupils. Its stated mission is to develop academic excellence and to build good men.

In 2020 the Sunday Times named Reading School the 7th best state school in the country. A past headteacher compared its historic architecture to a ‘small Hogwarts’.

Reading School 11 plus exam information

  • Address: Reading School, Erleigh Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 5LW

  • County: Berkshire

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 0118 9015600

  • School type: boys’ grammar with academy status

  • Number of pupils: 1,112

  • Number of places in Year 7: 150 (138 day boys and 12 boarders)

  • Open day date: 27th and 28th April

  • 11 plus exam dates: 9th September

  • Exam board type: school's own exam

Reading School term dates

Reading School's term dates for 2022-23 are:

  • Autumn term (Michaelmas): 5th September - 16th December

  • Half term: 24th - 28th October

  • Spring term (Lent): 5th January - 31st March

  • Half term: 13th - 17th February

  • Summer term: 17th April - 14th July

  • Half term: 29th May - 2nd June

Reading School 11 plus admissions

As an academically selective grammar school, Reading School sets its own 11 plus examination, which pupils sit in September the year before entry. The exam tests applicants in English, maths and creative writing. The English and maths scores are considered first, after which the creative writing marks are taken into account.

As the school is consistently oversubscribed, eligible results on the 11 plus do not always secure a place. Reading School then applies a number of criteria including:

  • Looked after or previously looked after children

  • Pupils living within the designated area and eligible for its pupil premium or service premium

  • Pupils whose home address is within the catchment area

What is the catchment area for Reading School?

The Reading School catchment area takes in postcodes as far as Wallingford to the north, Bracknell to the East, Hook to the South and Newbury to the West. The full list of postcodes in the catchment area is:

  • RG1, RG2, RG4, RG5, RG6, RG7, RG8, RG10, RG12, RG18, RG19, RG30, RG31, RG40, RG41, RG42, RG45.

  • RG9 1, RG9 2, RG9 3, RG9 4 & RG9 5

  • RG14 1, RG14 2, RG14 3, RG14 5, RG14 6 & RG14 7

  • RG20 4, RG20 5, RG20 6 & part of RG20 7 (east of A34)

  • RG26 3, RG26 4 & part of RG26 5 (north of A339)

  • RG27 0 & parts of RG27 8 & RG27 9 (north of M3)

  • GU15 1, GU15 2, GU15 3 & GU15 4

  • GU17 0 & GU17 9

  • GU19 5

  • GU46 6 & GU46 7

  • GU47 0, GU47 8 & GU47 9

  • OX10 0, OX10 8, OX10 9 & part of OX10 6 (south of A4130)

  • OX11 9

  • SL4 4

  • SL5 0, SL5 7, SL5 8 & SL5 9

You can view a map of the catchment area on the Reading School website.

How and when to apply to Reading School

The first step is to submit an online application form. Applications will open on 1st May 2022 and will close on 30th June 2022 - the form will be available on the Reading School website.

When is the Reading School 11 plus exam taken?

The provisional date for the exam place is 9th September, at Reading School. Parents are informed of their child’s results in mid-October. Each child may only sit the Reading School 11 plus exam once.

Reading School 11 plus exam format

Prospective students sit a test in maths and English, as well as a creative writing paper. The maths and English papers are marked by computer and applicants are given an age-standardised score.

For boys who achieve an eligible age-standardised score, the admissions team then marks their creative writing paper.

For the boys who achieve an eligible score on their creative writing test, the school will then apply its oversubscription criteria (above) to determine which applicants will be offered a place.

How to prepare for the Reading School 11 plus

With such a competitive admissions process, it’s important to begin preparations at least a year in advance. The priority should be preparing for maths and English, as the school considers the scores in those subjects first, although creative writing preparation is also essential.

The school doesn’t release past papers but does publish a Reading School 11 plus familiarisation book. This is a good way to help your son get comfortable with the kinds of question formats he will encounter in the exam.

How Atom can help your child prepare for the Reading School 11 Plus

Atom Nucleus supports 11 plus preparation by combining cutting-edge technology with the expertise of experienced teachers. We’ve built over 90,000+ practice questions, live prep courses, pre-recorded video tutorials, and unlimited mock tests in the style and format of the Reading School 11 plus exam. Atom’s adaptive learning algorithm tailors the ideal learning journey for your child to keep them engaged and challenged while giving you data-driven insights into where they need to focus next.

Start your 5-day free trial of Nucleus today and find out how Atom can help your son go into the 11 plus exam confident and fully prepared for success.


We know how crucial this time is, so our team is on hand to support you and your family every step of the way. You can book a call with one of our Education Experts to ask any questions you may have about Reading School and its 11 plus exam:

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